D.he network group Google is resisting the temporary ban on cooperation with the federal government on an online health portal. Upon request, the Munich Higher Regional Court confirmed that Google had appealed against a corresponding judgment.
The Internet company announced that it was still in the process of examining whether and which legal measures would be taken in the course of the injunction proceedings. “For this reason, we have taken precautionary steps that give us more time to make such a decision.”
Core of the legal dispute: When searching Google for illnesses or complaints, an info box from the portalheil.bund.de was prominently displayed, for which the Ministry of Health under Jens Spahn (CDU) is responsible. Media companies fear disadvantages because they also operate health portals on the Internet. The Hubert Burda Media group had sued the Munich district court through a subsidiary, the health portal netdoktor.de.
In February the judges forbade the cooperation and essentially granted applications for interim injunctions against the Federal Republic and the American group. The court rated the whole thing as a cartel violation. The agreement restricts competition. Google then removed the info boxes. The ministry had announced that it would examine the decision. Repeated inquiries about possible further steps left it unanswered. The higher regional court has so far not received any further appeal beyond Google, as a court spokesman said. There are no dates for the rest of the process yet.
The media regulators are also currently working on the portal. The media authority Hamburg / Schleswig-Holstein started an internal investigation against Google in mid-December. It is checked whether the prominent presentation discriminates against other journalistic-editorial offers from the subject area of health. The federal government is not the opponent of the proceedings.
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